The next step in the UK roadmap for lifting restrictive measures against the pandemic is "in the air" due to the spread of the Indian mutation, according to one of the leading experts in the UK.
The roadmap of the British government envisages the complete lifting of the restrictions on June 21. Prime Minister Johnson has said publicly at least twice that he does not currently see anything in the epidemiological data that would lead him to believe that there will be a deviation from this timetable, although he has set out on alert for the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant.
Neil Ferguson, a professor at Imperial College London, one of the most influential voices in the coronavirus strategy, however, estimated that the final lifting of the measures might not be possible next month.
Referring to the Indian mutation that first appeared in NW England, he said that he is now the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the country and that it has been detected in the vast majority of local government units. "The majority of new cases are of the Indian variant, this is obviously worrying," said the British professor.
"We know it partially escapes the immunity produced by vaccines. Fortunately if people have done two doses then there is a lot of protection, but it is not as good (as with other variants) and therefore in combination this is worrying. So I would say the fourth step is probably in the air, "added Professor Ferguson.
He also said that the data for the next two or three weeks will be crucial and attached great importance to how much more contagious this mutation will be found compared to the British mutation in Kent.
Professor Ferguson's warning comes as even the slightest increase in daily cases and hospitalizations due to Covid in the UK in recent days has begun to cause concern. On Wednesday, the 24-hour cases exceeded 3.000 for the first time since mid-April.
Northern Ireland, meanwhile, is now becoming the first UK department to offer coronavirus vaccination appointments to all adult citizens.
In England, appointments are offered to all citizens over the age of 30.